Todays parable is in all probability a doubling of last weeks parable. Matthew found both of them in the tradition with which he was working. They were sufficiently different for him to include both in his Gospel. See last weeks background for an explanation.
The Mustard Seed story is an addition in this version. It turns out to be an accurate prediction.
Sociologist Rodney Stark in a recent study argues that there were only a thousand Christians at the end of the first century, six million at the beginning of the third and thirty million(half the Roman empire) by 350.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time there was an eighth grade football team that inherited a tradition of losing almost all the games of a season. The other parishes in the league provided uniforms, a coaching staff, even summer training. The kids from St. Useless didnt have a coach or uniforms or much parental support. They were a ragtag band of talented but untrained kids.
Then one day a young man watched them stumble through practice. Can I help? he asked them. The team was ready to accept help from anyone. You guys are the best he said. Theres no reason you cant win the conference. But you have to practice, be confident of yourself, and be good friends. No more fighting among the team or with me if Im going to be your unofficial coach. The kids agreed. The first thing the coach taught them was how be friends and play together with one another. Then he told them practice after practice how good they were.
Finally he made them work, work, work. You know what happened. They went undefeated won the conference. He made us believe in ourselves. The kids said. The next year the parents hired a real coach and the team finished last.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon
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Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
In Memory of Father Andrew M. Greeley
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